Human rights and humanizing business

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There is a growing consensus that businesses should respect human rights, but there is lesser consensus on why they should do so. This chapter will critically examine two prominent justifications of the why question: the ‘social expectations’ logic which underpins the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the business case for human rights. As an alternative, I will argue that businesses should respect human rights as a matter of principle, simply because they are in a ‘position’ to violate human rights. This would require humanizing business by revisiting the very purpose of business, making substantial changes in laws governing corporations, and managing expectations of shareholders. Otherwise, we might continue to scratch only the surface of the problem of deeply-entrenched culture of corporate irresponsibility and impunity for human rights abuses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHumanizing business
Subtitle of host publicationwhat humanities can say to business
EditorsMichel Dion, R. Edward Freeman, Sergiy D. Dmytriyev
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030722043
ISBN (Print)9783030722036
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameIssues in Business Ethics
ISSN (Print)0925-6733
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1680


  • Corporate law
  • Human rights
  • Shareholders’ expectations
  • Social expectations


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